Yellow-level restrictions go into effect Saturday morning in Pitkin County

Pitkin County will move to Yellow-level restrictions beginning Saturday at 9 a.m., local public health officials said Friday.

Members of the county’s Board of Health decided Thursday that if the local COVID-19 incidence rate continued to decrease Friday, the new lesser restrictions would be put into place Saturday.

According to the latest local epidemiology data, Pitkin County’s incidence rate dropped to 135 on Friday, meaning that number has been on the decline for seven consecutive days. In order to move to a less restrictive level on the state’s COVID-19 dial, a county must show that seven-day decline, according to new rules implemented last week by the state of Colorado.

Pitkin County’s incidence rate has not only dropped for seven consecutive days, but has also been below 300 for that entire week, according to the local data. The number 300 is the cut-off between Orange and Yellow level restrictions.

Yellow-level restrictions allow most local businesses, including indoor restaurant dining, to operate at 50% capacity. Those restrictions will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, said Tracy Trulove, county spokeswoman.

Board of Health Chairwoman Markey Butler said Thursday that she was happy going to Yellow would increase capacity at local restaurants. One Aspen restaurant owner agreed, though he said he didn’t appreciate the county’s past efforts when it came to restaurants.

“It was a relief to the unanimous willingness of the county officials to align with the state dial 2.0 and adjust to the lower Yellow level,” Jimmy Yeager, owner of Jimmy’s, said in an email to The Times. “Whereas I understand their consistent cautionary stance, I remain critical of some of their previous decisions which resulted in more harm than help. After witnessing this level of unilateral power I believe there is a need to take a hard look and action to ensure that future (board of health) members reflect a broader community health representation.”

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